Animal magic: Colourful murals painted on Shrewsbury's 'hidden objects'

Colourful murals are springing up around Shrewsbury town centre as part of a project to convert “hidden objects” into works of art.

Hannah Chumbley with her creation on Wyle Cop
Hannah Chumbley with her creation on Wyle Cop

Shrewsbury BID has teamed up with BT to encourage artists to get creative with telephone and internet cable boxes around the town centre.

The boxes are usually painted dark green by BT, and many people walk past without a second glance, but now five boxes are standing out as pieces of art in their own right.

Artists Saffron Russell, Hannah Chumbley, Cherie Jerrad, Naomi Sampson and Emma Williams have each taken a box and created a colourful mural based on the theme of animals – inspired by the flags fluttering over High Street as part of the national Great Big Art Exhibition.

Artist Hannah Chumbley

Hannah Chumbley, who painted the cabinet at the top of Wyle Cop, said: “It's been wonderful to be involved in this project and I feel proud to have created a mural for our lovely town and brighten up a BT box.

“When the animal theme was put to me and I knew which box I was going to be given, I thought it would be lovely to link the surrounding buildings to the design.

“It's been a joy to paint and walking past it today, seeing people stop and have a look has been really nice.”

Emma Molyneux, of Shrewsbury BID, said the murals were already attracting lots of attention.

“Even as the artists were painting them, people were taking pictures and sharing them on social media, it’s been a really positive reaction,” she said.

Theme

“We have asked the artists to create a mural which ties in with the location of the BT box and links with the animals theme.

“For instance, the one near Bear Steps has a picture of a bear enjoying a bath in a giant cup of tea, and one at the top of Wyle Cop features a fox and a lion to link with the surrounding buildings.

“We are delighted with how the murals look, and it’s a fantastic way of making a creative use out of important but hidden objects in the town centre.

“We have done five of the boxes so far, and are hoping to do more in the future and create a trail for people to follow around the town.”

Craig Brown of Openreach, said: “These designs are truly amazing with incredibly talented artists producing them.

“Works of art are always a matter of personal opinion, and I think turning our cabinets into works of art can distract and discourage the anti-social behaviour that they are often faced with in certain areas.

“This encourages artists to share their work freely, be creative and colourful in the community and brighten up the people of Shrewsbury’s daily lives. And let’s also not forget that these cabinets have now not only had a new lease of life but also provide Shrewsbury with superfast broadband.”

Saffron Russell, who painted the bear-themed box near the Bear Steps, added: “Painting the BT box in town was such a wonderful opportunity from Shrewsbury BID and I felt hugely grateful to be part of such a fantastic group of local artists.

“I had a lot of fun interacting with the community whilst painting and found that passers-by seemed really excited about the murals and brightening up the town. My design was inspired by Bear Steps and all the brilliant coffee shops nearby.”

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